LONDON: A new study has revealed the devastating toll that COVID-19 takes on those who recover, with patients experiencing a myriad of illnesses including heart problems, diabetes and chronic conditions.
The study by researchers at the University of Leicester and the UK’s Office of National Statistics said data shows that almost a third of patients who recover from infection return to hospital with further symptoms within five months, and one in eight die.
Out of 47,780 people who were discharged from hospital in the UK’s first wave, 29.4 percent were readmitted to hospital within 140 days, and 12.3 percent of the total died.
“This is the largest study of people discharged from hospital after being admitted with COVID-19,” said the study’s author Kamlesh Khunti, professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine at the University of Leicester.
“People seem to be going home, getting long-term effects, coming back in and dying. We see nearly 30 percent have been readmitted, and that’s a lot of people. The numbers are so large. The message here is we really need to prepare for long COVID.”
Long COVID is the term used to characterize the long-term effects that many patients experience after catching and subsequently recovering from the virus.
Khunti said the illnesses that people have been recorded as experiencing after recovering include heart, kidney and liver problems, as well as diabetes.
Other studies have found that patients experience breathlessness and fatigue, and some have even been confined to wheelchairs by long COVID.
The University of Leicester study has not yet been peer reviewed, meaning it has not yet undergone rigorous critique by peers in the field, but scientists have already hailed its results.
Christina Pagel, director of the clinical operational research unit at University College London, tweeted: “This is such important work. Covid is about so much more than death.”